Studies have concluded that 98% of all basements will experience some form of basement water damage at some point in their existence, which basically means that if you are a homeowner with a basement, water damage is a virtual certainty. It simply becomes a matter of when, not if, you get your turn in the barrel.
This comes as no surprise, though; basements are the single lowest lying locations in any structure. The problems can be comparable to attic water damage. Waterproofing is needed anytime a structure is built at ground level or below ground. Couple that with the fact that water prefers to run downhill, and you have a recipe for some serious damage. At this point, the question becomes, “what can I do to protect my basement from the elements?”
First off, understand, the concept of basement waterproofing is not a 100% cure all. Regardless of whether you’re in South Africa or have basement water damage in Austin, the basics remain the same. If enough water comes in, your basement will be damaged, but the good news is that you can take definitive steps to insulate your basement against most forms of flood damage, as well as minimize any damage that does occur.
Basement waterproofing involves three basic steps:
- Interior wall and floor sealers
- Interior water drainage and
- Exterior drainage combined with waterproofing.
Ideally, these elements should have been incorporated into your home when it was built.
There are also exterior waterproofing methods that are available, such as through the use of degradable asphalt based coverings. Exterior waterproofing prevents water from entering foundation walls therefore preventing the wicking and molding of building materials. In fact, this method is the only one endorsed by the International Building Code. Newer, polymer based coatings are designed for a longer life, and may last the life of the structure itself.
When it comes to taking preventative action, you should try to anticipate all avenues by which water may be able to access your basement. Dampness may be caused by extremes in temperature, so reducing those extremes may help head off the problem.
Keep your basement windows closed during wet weather, and replace any damaged water pipes. A good quality dehumidifier will prove invaluable for reducing moisture levels in your basement.
Avoid any type of plantation in the areas immediately surrounding your basement foundation. This may result in blocking of ventilation as well as producing cracks in the foundational walls. Not to mention the plant watering or drip systems that provides water to these plants, but also to your basement.
Be sure to look for condensation around any windows in the basement and reseal windows as necessary.
Remember also that improperly installed gutters and downspouts may result in excess water near your foundation that can end up in your basement. Make sure all gutter structures are properly installed and channel water away from your home for a distance of no less than 20 feet. Landscaping should also properly slope away from your home. Backfilled dirt around the foundation will typically settle lower than the surrounding dirt causing the ground to sink in and slope towards your house. If necessary, add dirt up against the foundation to create at least a 2″ per foot as the ground slopes away from the foundation. Retaining walls may also be utilized to keep excess water at bay.
Of course your local, Clean Trust certified water damage restoration professionals can inspect your home for potential water problems and correct the issues before they become serious. Call them today.